or whatever reason, my dad used to say that when mom put on her face powder and lipstick, she was putting on her war paint. Many cultures use various types of colouring on their faces for different cultural festivals. We don’t just see this in our country but also in many other countries around the world. The Native Americans from North America, the Maoris from New Zealand, the Aboriginal Australians, many South American peoples as well as Indians, African and many Eastern people use “paint” on their faces according to their particular ceremonies.
A derogatory term, in my opinion, is calling a person a “Battle Axe”. From where I come, some men would use this term for their wife when she was angry with them. The term “Battle Axe” is self-explanatory, meaning that wife is on the war path because the husband let her down, become drunk or lazed around. Almost like an Andy Cap and Flo comic!
We read of another “Battle Axe” in Jeremiah:
Jer 51:15 “He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. 16 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
17 “Every man is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. 18 They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. 19 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the tribe of his inheritance—the LORD Almighty is his name.
20 “You are my war club, my weapon for battle—with you I shatter nations, with you I destroy kingdoms, 21 with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver, 22 with you I shatter man and woman, with you I shatter old man and youth, with you I shatter young man and maiden, 23 with you I shatter shepherd and flock, with you I shatter farmer and oxen, with you I shatter governors and officials.
24 “Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the LORD.
In verse 20, where God says, “You are my war club, my weapon for battle”, he is speaking about Babylon … being used by God as a weapon. An older translation uses the term “battle axe” or “battle hammer”. The irony is that although God speaks through Jeremiah saying He will use Babylon as a war weapon … look at verse 20 to 23. He will repay Babylon for what she does to Zion … “Israel”.
zThis type of weapon was gruesome in appearance and function. The Egyptian “battle axe” blade was between 2 to 2 ½ feet in length (0.610m to 0.762m), with a single blade secured to a wooden handle. The blade was shaped like a crescent moon with pointed ends. Another type had a 3-foot blade (0.9144m) with a steel ball in the crescent moon to give weight and force. The Persians, Assyrians and, to a lesser degree, the Chaldeans and Babylonians used “battle axes” in their warfare.
Christians don’t fight with lethal weapons such as these. Where any country has the right to protect its borders and sovereignty and thereby would need weapons to defend herself, Christians don’t use these things. You might have seen a gang of men going into an expensive car dealership a few weeks ago in Cape Town wreaking havoc … you might have seen one gang member carrying a gun. He was blatant. This is not the way Christians behave. There is another method God has given that we Christians use for our protection. We don’t fight a physical, visible enemy. God says:
Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Christians walk away from and even run away from disputes, arguments or fighting with fellow beings. Jesus told us to turn the other cheek.
Mat 5:39 “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
We need to read this verse in the light of verses 40 to 48 with special focus on verse 44, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. When you love and pray for your enemy, you can’t be angry or aggressive towards that person. An important measure to remember is that every single person, however wicked, sinful and argumentative they are, are created in the image of God. Yes, much of the image is lost, but through the Gospel they could be saved and restored. That is the Gospel’s objective. It reached us and changed us … did it not? So why can’t it reach the one who wants to fight with you? We use the armory of God.
Eph 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Please read until verse 18. Key spiritual battle components (battle axes) are Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Faith, and these are only accessible to the real Christian because they are spiritual and can only be found in the Word of God and through Prayer. Where the Christian is called to be meek, it does not mean we must be weak. Where we are called to turn the other cheek, it does not mean we hand over our soul. When we are called to love our enemies, it does not mean we condone their evilness. Where we are called to pray for our enemies, it does not mean we give away our Gospel morals. No … we stand for God and His Cause, we endure hardships, we battle the real enemy, the devil, and we trust God for His protection and deliverance all the way to glory … and we pray for the salvation of our enemies!
Our Father, forgive us for every time we become irate and want to retaliate when the people of this world are aggressive towards us. We know, Lord, they only do what their worldly nature and culture dictates. Help us to dress ourselves with every means necessary to stand firm in Jesus and to behave as Jesus did. Amen.